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From Plans to Quantities: Estimating Essentials in a Construction Project
Margarita Vizcaino
Margarita Vizcaino
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From Plans to Quantities: Estimating Essentials in a Construction Project

Design a worksheet to estimate materials such as concrete, steel, CMU and brick using real-life projects as a case study.

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 ET /
8 weeks, 2-3 hours per week
No experience required
No experience required
Some experience required
Degree and experience required


In the construction industry, accurate estimation of materials like concrete, steel, and brick is essential for project planning and budgeting. By designing a worksheet to estimate these materials, you will tackle a real-world challenge faced by construction companies daily. This project not only will give you practical skills crucial for success in the field but also fosters critical thinking, attention to detail, and problem-solving abilities essential for your professional development. Additionally, mastering estimation techniques enhances your employability and prepares you to contribute meaningfully to construction projects upon entering the workforce. In today's U.S. society, where infrastructure development and construction projects are essential for economic growth and societal well-being, professionals equipped with such skills play a vital role in driving progress and meeting the evolving needs of communities across the nation.

Session timeline

  • Applications open
    March 11, 2024
  • Application deadline
    April 7, 2024
  • Project start date
    Week of July 8, 2024
    Week of
    April 29, 2024
  • Project end date
    Week of

What you will learn

  • Understand and interpret the blueprints of a construction project.
  • Estimate concrete for a slab, steel for reinforcing and quantity of brick.
  • Build a report of the estimated materials.
  • Do a final presentation that is clear and concise.

Build Projects are 8-week experiences that operate on a rolling basis. Selected participants engage in weekly live workshops with a Build Fellow and 2-15 other students.

Project workshops

Introductions & Presentation of the Project
Civil Engineering Paths
Blueprint Basics
Material Estimation Fundamentals
Steel and Concrete Estimation
CMU and Brick Estimation
Project Review
Final Presentation


  • Strong arithmetic skills, including the ability to perform calculations involving area, volume, and unit conversions.
  • Meticulous attention to detail. Students must carefully analyze project specifications, identify all relevant factors affecting material estimation, and avoid overlooking any crucial details that could lead to inaccuracies in their calculations.
  • Strong critical thinking skills to analyze complex problems, identify potential challenges in material estimation, and devise creative solutions.
  • Intermediate Excel proficiency.

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About the expert
Margarita Vizcaino
's Linkedin

Margarita Vizcaino is a Civil Engineer Fellow at Open Avenues, where she works with students leading projects in Civil Engineering.

Margarita Vizcaino is a Project Engineer at Eagle Construction and Restoration, LLC., where she works on cost estimation of material, equipment and labor for masonry projects, reviews project documentation and technical specifications, and prepares reports for project management.

Margarita Vizcaino has ten years of experience in civil engineering.

She has had three jobs related to civil engineering, two related to education, and one in the finance field. In her previous job as a civil engineer, she was an estimator for a Central American company that works on foundations and soil technologies. It was an interesting job that usually required creativity to solve the challenges of each project. In that job, she learned the importance of having a good foundation in every building.

She holds a degree in Civil Engineering.

A fun fact about Margarita Vizcaino: she has been interested in politics since childhood, and one of her dreams as a child was to become the President of Guatemala, her home country.

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